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Faculty Pianist De Solaun Wins International Competition

Sept. 30, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

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Josu De Solaun, a new assistant professor of piano in Sam Houston State University’s School of Music, won the first prize in the piano section of the prestigious Enescu Competition that took place on Sept. 27 in Bucharest, Romania.

Josu De Solaun posing in front of a piano
Josu De Solaun

In addition to a cash prize reward, De Solaun also has been invited to perform next year at the prestigious Ravello Festival in Italy.

The George Enescu International Competition, a classical music contest, has served as a springboard for musicians.

Established in 1958, the competition honors composer, violinist, pianist, conductor and teacher George Enescu, who is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century and Romania's most important musician.

“I’ve been an Enescu fan for a long time. And I’ve always wished to perform at the Romanian Athenaeum,” De Solaun said.

Two hundred and forty young artists from 36 countries on five continents signed up to participate in the 2014 Enescu Competition.

Three young pianists performed in the piano final in the Romanian Athenaeum Grand Hall, together with the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by renowned pianist and conductor Justus Frantz, a close collaborator of legendary Leonard Bernstein.

For the final, De Solaun and two other finalists each interpreted “Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23” by Tchaikovsky and “Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30” by Rachmaninoff to an overwhelmingly full house. The public also watched the final live on a large screen outside of the Romanian Athenaeum, and across the globe, audiences tuned-in online through a live stream.

Russian pianist Ilya Rashkovskiy earned second place, and Greek pianist Vassilis Varvaresos received the third prize.

De Solaun has performed as a soloist with prestigious international orchestras, including Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Sinfonietta, and Leos Janacek Symphony Orchestra.

A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, De Solaun studied for 12 years under pianists Nina Svetlanova and Horacio Gutierrez.

As a collaborative artist, he was worked alongside Mark Nuccio, associate principal clarinetist of the New York Philarmonic; Amaury Coeytaux, concert master of the Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France; pianists Andre-Michel Schub, Lydia Artimiw and Anna Petrova; and legendary soprano Catherine Malfitano, among many others.

He now divides his time between New York and Huntsville, where he recently joined the faculty of SHSU.

On Saturday (Oct. 4), at 7:30 p.m., De Solaun will join the SHSU Orchestra for a concert, “Enchanted Garden” in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center, located at 815 17th St. in Huntsville.

Admission is free.




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